You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Baird 'frustrated' with Ausgrid process

AAP logoAAP 12/08/2016

NSW Premier Mike Baird says he's frustrated the federal government waited so long to reject two lucrative bids for the state's electricity network.

The state government's plans to secure billions of dollars in infrastructure funds were scuppered on Thursday after federal treasurer Scott Morrison announced two Chinese bids for the 99-year lease of 50.4 per cent of Ausgrid would be knocked back due to national security concerns.

"My main frustration in this process is that I believe the decision should've been made much earlier," Mr Baird told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

The premier said he had not personally spoken with his federal colleague but his treasurer Gladys Berejiklian had conveyed the government's concerns.

"Having said that, it's complex, it's not easy. There are different structures, there are different formats and in that context we need to get to make sure that we get it right, and I accept that," he said.

"Hopefully there are lessons learnt through this process".

While Mr Morrison has not specified the exact reasoning behind his decision to reject the bids from China's State Grid and Hong Kong-listed company Cheung Kong infrastructure, he's insisted it was taken on advice and not country specific.

The federal treasurer has also hit back at claims the decision was made in a bid to appease key Senate crossbenchers, such as One Nation's Pauline Hanson, who have been critical of Chinese investment in Australia.

Foreign investment, wherever it comes from, is critical for the nation to prosper, Premier Baird said on Friday.

"That doesn't mean that there is a green light on everything, of course there's not," he said.

"But we need to be clear - foreign investment is part and parcel of a successful economy and NSW will always be open to foreign investment".

The state government had earmarked funds from the sale - expected to top $10 billion - for infrastructure projects.

Mr Baird again insisted the setback would not hamper his commitment to deliver $20 billion worth of projects for new schools, hospitals, public transport and roads.

"We will be in a position where we will secure an outstanding result for this lease, mark my words," he said.

The bidders have a week to respond to the treasurer's decision.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon